Do you think we should be able to purchase a personal gene test over the counter to find out if we have genes for high blood pressure, Alzheimers disease, high cholesterol, cancer and a host of other potential diseases that may or may not occur? Not long ago, genes were patentable until the patent office was challenged on the patenting of genes such as BRAC 1 and 2 known for breast and ovarian cancers. People spent close to 3000 dollars to do this test that should cost less but due to the patent, there was a monopoly. I guess the monopoly is broken but if we now can do it yourself gene testing, does it show things we can do things about, things we cant and can our privacy be breached by life insurers who make this part of their screen along with the typical blood tests that are done? I am also concerned because it may make certain people do things they may never consider doing including self mutilation in the name of prevention (women have had breasts and ovaries removed with the discovery of BRAC 1 and 2 for example) even if the problem has never appeared.
People are not always rational and giving them information like this can cause them to worry about problems they may have even though they may never develop the problem. A television series called Flash Forward entertains this idea by having a global blackout where everyone either sees their future or does not. Those who did not are assumed to have died and others see things happen they could never imagine. As the date approaches or passes, they of course learn the future is pliable and can change or be modified. The same idea goes to genetic testing where the gene says this is likely to happen but may of course not if we change the way we live in some cases or things may never happen; we really do not truly know. To act on something we believe is likely but do not know is taking a risk that can either pay off handsomely or create a problem that never existed after all (kind of reminds me of our current health care interventions and the mess they have created) On the other hand, some genes such as obesity can be attacked early in life by lifestyle changes and knowing allows us to be proactive. Many other gene variants are known however, we have no way of fixing them. Some research has been done with the idea of using viruses to deliver repaired genetic code to the cells, thus altering our future.
I guess gene testing is a start. I would recommend that anyone who decides to do it should have it repeated. Imagine if you did the test, believed everything in it only to find out your test was confused with another persons test and you had your breasts removed preventatively with your ovaries. Part of the argument against the death penalty is that we killed innocent people who were sentenced by a jury, only to find out after that they never did it with genetic testing.
What are your thoughts? I value your comments.